If you don't work on the front line, you probably spent the majority of the last year working from home, which perhaps created some extra time for you to reflect and rethink your career choices. If you're hesitant about your current job, want to find a new challenge or want to switch careers and finally land your dream job - we have good news for you.
Whatever your situation, working with a mentor can help you consider different perspectives, and craft a strategy for your future personal and professional development to gain a clear idea of where you are heading. Most importantly, working with a professional mentor when looking to progress in your career will hold you accountable. So, you won't need to worry that your goal will never be met. Instead, together with a mentor, you meet regularly to discuss your achievements and drawbacks and constantly update your master plan.
We know job searching can be a stressful process, however, with the right support, you can set yourself up for success. In this article you'll learn more about the areas in which a mentor can help you get a new job, what the role of a mentor is in your career, how a mentoring programme works, and read about a real-life example of a mentee going through a career switch with the help of a mentor.
Areas in which a mentor can help you
Generic career growth advice
Your mentor will help you “see around corners” in your career so you know what it takes to progress. Your mentor will be your guide and sounding board for ideas, helping you reflect on your goals and decide on the best course of action.
Developing your skills and knowledge
Your mentor will help you identify the expertise you need to succeed, including building confidence and improving your presentation and communication skills. You will also get advice on additional resources you can leverage, including books, articles, and events.
Working regularly with a mentor ensures that you maintain focus on your career growth and have consistent conversations about how you can improve. Long-term career growth is often about improving a little bit every day, rather than in short bursts.
Growing your network
Your mentor can offer an opportunity to expand your existing network of professional contacts by introducing you to relevant connections. Mentoring is a great way to gain access to people you would not otherwise meet. Your mentor can introduce you to people in the relevant industry and start new inspiring conversations.
Landing your dream job
In this specific scenario, a mentor could guide you through a job search and interview process, or if you're thinking of becoming self-employed, talk you through how to get started and best ways to get clients. A mentor can support you in the following areas:
- Creating an action plan to get you a job offer or new client in the next 2 months
- Expanding your professional network by connecting you with potential employers or clients
- Identifying skills and knowledge gaps in your CV and directing you towards how to fill them
- Updating your CV and LinkedIn to highlight your experience, skills and achievements
- Guiding you on how to best sell yourself when writing cover letters or proposals
- Preparing for an interview by doing a test round, asking hard questions so you're all set for the real one
- Guiding you on negotiating your dream salary, as well as, how to leave your current job the right way
What role will mentor play in your career
Mentors help mentees explore their career options, set development goals and actions, expand networks and unlock necessary resources. The role of a mentor is not to tell the mentee what to do but rather to facilitate self-learning and help the mentee come up with a solution and see what works for themselves. Mentoring facilitates the exchange of ideas, so when the mentor shares their experiences, they might inspire the mentee to come up with their own solution to a problem, whilst remaining cautious of potential mistakes or challenges their mentor has faced.
How mentoring works
Every mentoring programme is different and it depends how the programme provider approaches it. At Femme Palette you will get matched with the right mentor based on your experience, industry, job role, skills, personality and most importantly your goals.
Programme length and sessions cadence
We don't believe in quick fixes and as such, Femme Palette's mentoring programmes are 6 months long. This means that you'll have 1-hour remote mentoring sessions with your mentor regularly, every 2 weeks. This allows you to progress while having enough time to work on the actions you and your mentor will set for every next meeting.
Goal-setting structure and progress tracking
At the start of your mentoring you will set up the goals you want to achieve within 6 months and will work together with your mentor on an actionable plan to achieve them. Your mentor will be tracking the progress and will act as an accountability partner, however, ultimately it is you who needs to be driven and action items on your plan to land your dream job within the timeframe you set with your mentor.
How to work with a mentor to make the most out of it
We don't expect you to know how to make the most out of mentoring, how to build a strong relationship with your mentor, how to best communicate with your mentor and how to make the most out of the 6 months you have together. Which is why we put together a mentee guide which is free for every new mentee. In this guide you'll get advice on setting your goals with the SMART framework, building a trusting relationship with your mentor, and receiving and providing feedback. You'll also receive a certificate when you finish your programme to show on your LinkedIn.
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Real-life case study: How working with a mentor contributed to my career change
Mako Ueda is now a User Experience Researcher at Avast but before joining Femme Palette, she was a business analyst at Siemens. Halfway through the programme, she got a new job. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was cancelled. However, Mako persevered and after completing the programme, she found work in the field of UX research. Here is how mentoring has contributed to her career switch.
“I signed up for the mentorship programme when I was at a crossroad in my career. I knew I wanted to change my career path, but I didn't know what or how. From the get-go my mentor, Michaela, worked with me to discover my vision and find the clarity that I needed. We started off by taking time to reflect on my past experiences, my strengths and weaknesses, and what I wanted my life to look like in the next year. This helped me narrow down the list of different careers I was taking into consideration and hone in on my focus.
Michaela asked the hard questions that pushed me to think about what it is I truly wanted out of my professional career, and most importantly why. Every session she came prepared with resources (books, connections, and industry knowledge) that helped me tremendously. But more than anything, having a mentor who was caring, understanding, and genuinely wanted the best for me made me feel safe and supported. Our bi-weekly sessions gave me something to look forward to and kept me accountable to follow through on my tasks to ensure I was making progress.”
Where to find a mentor
At Femme Palette, we believe that the best way for someone to learn is through exposure to experience and guidance from people who, like our mentors, were once in the same situation. We currently have over 400 mentors from different countries working in sales, business development, marketing, design, HR/recruiting, IT/tech, finance, management, entrepreneurs having their own successful businesses but also providing generic career guidance. Apply for our mentorship programme and get matched with the right mentor for you who will guide you to achieve your career change goals.
Nobody should do it alone. Mentoring is the first step towards a successful future and it is only up to you whether you are ready for a change.